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OCSLA Workers: You Can Choose Your Own Doctor

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“Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.”
Thomas Jefferson

My Number One Recommendation

When handling your Jones Act Case, nothing is more important then telling the truth. You must tell the truth when it comes to your Jones Act Case. If you are not honest and upfront about everything, the judge will throw out the case before it even starts. Do not fall for the Insurance Companies tricks either. They will only down play your injuries and try to settle for less then you deserve. 

Always tell the truth. Always.

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Read my free book, Win Your Injury Case: The Ultimate No B.S. Guide to Avoiding Insurance Company Tricks That Ruin Your Case [Even before you hire a lawyer] It is full of useful and helpful information when it comes to handling your Jones Act Case.

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The Outer Continental Shelf Land Act provides medical benefits to workers who are injured while working on the outer continental shelf. This is an extension of the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. Your employer may urge you to use the company doctor, but this isn’t always a good idea. The company doctor may be under pressure to minimize your injuries in order to reduce your OCSLA compensation claim. This means he won’t be protecting your health and interests.

If you are an OCSLA worker, you have the right to choose the physician who will treat your injury. Federal law mandates that injured workers under the LHWCA have the right to be treated by a physician of their choice. This means you are not limited to the company doctor and may choose any doctor of medicine (M.D.), dentist, podiatrist, optometrist, surgeon, osteopath or chiropractor whose specialty is appropriate to your injury.

But, there are exceptions to what doctor you can see. The OCSLA will not allow you to be treated by a faith healer, naturopath, acupuncturist or any other healer who is not defined as a “physician” by the OCSLA.

Chiropractors may only treat the spine and may only provide manual manipulation of the spine. Other chiropractic treatments are not covered. As a practical matter, I suggest that you don't choose a chiropractor as your treating doctor. It is usually better to choose an orthopedic doctor and later they can refer you to a chiropractor if needed.

There is one other exception:  Your employer or insurance company may not be responsible for your medical bills if the physician you choose is currently debarred by the Department of Labor. In all other cases, you have the right to choose your own healthcare provider. This is called making a "free choice of physician."

You must first make a free choice of physician. This means you have to make a request in writing and give the insurance company/ your employer a reasonable amount of time.  Of course, when it is an emergency you can go right away.  And the Emergency Room physician will not be counted as your "free choice physician." 

Always make your request for your "free choice physican" to be in writing. This is easy - send the adjuster an email and send a copy to yourself. I recommend sending a "second request" also. 

Finally, you need to be really careful about who you actually choose.  A mistake in your choice can be really difficult to fix later.

Offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, Bakersfield and San Diego


William Turley
“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
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